40 Days Of Prayer for Bethlehem
1st, September- 10th, October
We are a group of intercessors who started praying for Bethlehem during the Intifada. Bethlehem was the first city to be reoccupied by the Israeli forces in September as it was preparing itself for the celebration of Christmas 2000 that was planned to last for one year. During that invasion we felt that we were in real danger. The tanks were stationed on the high hills, and their cannons targeted many houses in our neighborhood. Obviously everybody was in a state of panic. This is when we learned to pray on our knees and more often totally prostrated on the floor (to avoid the bullets that were flying in all directions). Some of you, who read the e-mail that we sent asking for prayers, could sense the panic we were experiencing, and could understand the urgency of praying and interceding for this Land. We are grateful to all those who responded and joined us in prayer. Today we are calling on you to join us for 40 days of prayer for the Holy Land in General and for the Bethlehem area in particular.
The idea of praying for Bethlehem for forty days was birthed is the heart of two ladies, my friend Karin Boydgian, and myself. One afternoon we planned with her husband to visit some families in Bethlehem. Our intention was to listen to their problems and to extend to them some material and moral support. It was a long, heavy afternoon. By the time we reached the last house we could not go up the stairs (Karen has a hip problem and I have a knee problem, and by now we had gone up and down many stairs). We were also exhausted and overwhelmed by what we heard, so much that we asked Tony, Karen?s husband, to visit with the last family alone while Karen and I waited for him in the car. The famous Star Street in the old town of Bethlehem, which was twinkling with beautiful electrical stars during the 2000 celebrations, was dark, and piles of garbage overflowed from the garbage bins (The garbage collectors had gone on strike because the municipality was not able to pay them for the last few months). We had to close the car windows and wait. It was unbearably hot. We were tired, exhausted and speechless. What struck us in the face was the magnitude of the need. No group of well meaning persons, no organization, not even a government could undo the damage that was inflicted on the people and the city for four long years. We looked up and said, ?Lord where are you? Only you can help!? At this point it dawned on us that we should commit ourselves for a long period of prayer.
We realized that so far we had focused for the last four years, and rightly so, on asking God for protection. He did indeed protect us; each one of us can testify to the goodness of our God. As we continue our prayers of praise and thanksgiving for the way Our Lord has held us in the palm of His hands and as we continue to acknowledge how he has protected us, cared for us, and provided for our needs, we now ask Him to undo the damage, to restore and to heal.
We call on you to join us, as we humble ourselves, fast (for those who are able to) and pray that God will look from heaven and have mercy on this land. Before we intercede for others let us first:
Pray that the Holy Spirit will be with us throughout the forty days, that He will guide and direct our prayers. Pray for our eyes to be on the coming of his kingdom and the prevalence of his righteousness. Pray that He gives us His wisdom and His compassion, so that when we pray according to our father?s heart, we have the assurance that He hears and answers our prayers. We know that He has good plans for us. He has good plans for the town and the people of Bethlehem.
Pray for protection for all those whose who have committed themselves to praying with us inside and outside the country. We are all aware that we can be under spiritual attack. Let us commit ourselves daily to a prayer of protection for one another. Pray that many people will know about our prayer and will be lead to join us.
Now let us pray for:
The infrastructure of Bethlehem has been virtually destroyed; the rate of unemployment is 70%. The Wall that snakes around the town and the surrounding villages, and at certain parts inside the towns and villages is a virtual nightmare. Land has been confiscated. Olive trees have been uprooted reducing land on which people depended for their livelihood into a desert. The wall chokes the towns and limits the mobility of the people. It prevents them from performing basic tasks and fulfilling basic needs; such as going to school, or work or even seeking medical help. To say that the wall merely inflicts hardship on the people is a gross understatement. There is a sense of helplessness and hopelessness that is generating a lot of anger. There is fear and uncertainty of what the future holds.
Pray that God will lift the cloud of depression. Pray that the people in their distress will look up to Him as their only provider.
Pray for the restoration of the economy, especially tourism on which the town almost totally depends.
Pray that God will give ideas to business people and entrepreneurs for projects that do not rely totally on tourism.
Pray that He will give them the resources and the ability to carry out these projects.
Pray for a good season of rain and for abundance that the trees will produce enough to meet the need.
Pray for the Wall to tumble down and to be dismantled peacefully.
Dear friends, we will keep you informed, and will continue to share with you the needs that the Lord is leading us to pray for. We will also be glad to hear from you at: email@example.com
On behalf of the intercessors in Bethlehem